Fill-in quarterbacks Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson capitalized on gift-wrapped area place and No. 14 Utah’s suffocating protection did the remaining because the Utes took down Florida 24-11 on Thursday night time in Salt Lake Metropolis.
Utah performed with out 25-game starter Cam Rising, who remains to be recovering from a torn ACL sustained within the Rose Bowl, however might get the All-Pac-12 passer again for a Sept. 9 date at Baylor.
With Rising resting, the Utes flexed early and sometimes, holding Florida to 13 dashing yards on 21 makes an attempt.
Main 17-3 at halftime, Utah picked off Florida quarterback Graham Mertz — his cross try was deflected by vast receiver Ricky Pearsall — early within the third quarter to achieve possession 11 yards from one other rating. Barnes ran in from 5 yards out on third all the way down to stretch the rating to 24-3.
Mertz, a three-year starter at Wisconsin who transferred to begin for the Gators, did not convert a 3rd all the way down to first down till the 11-minute mark within the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, he went on a tear within the ultimate 10 minutes, together with a run of 9 consecutive completions. The Gators’ comeback bid ended with jarring sack, Utah’s fifth of the sport, and a fourth-down incompletion with 1:39 to go.
Mertz completed 31 of 44 for 333 yards with one landing cross and one interception.
Mertz’s scoring cross got here within the fourth quarter to cap the Gators’ 98-yard drive. He discovered Caleb Douglas for a hard-earned, 19-yard seize over cornerback Zemaiah Vaughn with 9:22 to go. The Gators transformed the two-point strive, Mertz finishing a toss to Eugene Wilson, and narrowed the deficit to 24-11. Florida regained possession simply inside six-minute mark after Cole Becker missed a 55-yard area objective strive.
Barnes whipped a 70-yard TD cross on Utah’s first offensive play of the sport.
A fast play-action pretend pulled the secondary ahead. Barnes hit the fifth step in his dropback and instantly unfurled a slingshot throw that hit vast receiver Cash Parks, monitoring diagonally from proper of the formation to the left-side numbers, in stride between Gators defensive backs Jason Marshall Jr. and Miguel Mitchell.
Following a Florida area objective after which a 31-yard missed strive by the Gators, it was Johnson’s flip on the controls for the Utes.
Utah retained possession following a penalty on Florida for having two gamers sporting uniform No. 3 on the sphere on fouth-and-3.
4 performs later, Johnson grabbed a shotgun snap on second down on the 8-minute mark within the second quarter, faked an inside handoff and darted left. The redshirt freshman ripped by way of Florida’s entrance seven with a number of escorts and crossed the objective line with 4 white shirts closing in pursuit for a 27-yard TD run that bumped Utah’s benefit to 14-3.
Florida hosts McNeese on Sept. 9 as a part of a three-game stretch at dwelling.
Utah gained its fifteenth consecutive dwelling sport and has gained 26 of its final 27 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
—Discipline Degree Media